Arteta: Loss to Manchester United was Arsenal's best display

Despite being beaten 2-1 at home to confirm the Gunners’ worst start to a season in 32 years, the midfielder was impressed by his team-mates’ attacking flair on Saturday


Mikel Arteta knows Arsenal must be more ruthless after a defeat to Manchester United that the midfielder described as “not fair”, as he feels it was his side’s best display so far this season.

United were 2-1 winners at the Emirates Stadium to move above Arsene Wenger’s side in the Premier League table on Saturday and condemn the Gunners to their worst start to a season for 32 years.

Captain Arteta felt the defeat was harsh on Arsene Wenger’s side, but realises they must make the most of their dominance in matches if they are to challenge for honours.

“I’m shocked,” Arteta told reporters.

“I think we played our best game this season – the quality in the way we attacked, how we won the ball back, how consistent we were throughout, the amount of chances we created.

“When you are in the box and you can’t manage to score in that many situations, you can’t expect to win. It’s not fair for the players and the fans. How can I explain the result? I can’t.

“I am shocked and frustrated because we did not deserve this result considering the opposition we were playing against.

“I can only put it down to bad luck on the first goal which totally changed the game, at a time when we were absolutely controlling and hammering United.

“After they took the lead we had to take more risks to try to get back into the game and United have the players up front to cause you problems at any time.

“But I feel so sorry for the lads and for our supporters because they were terrific and I don’t think we deserved this result.”

He added: “It’s [a lack of] ruthlessness, for sure. When you are in the box and you can’t manage to score in that many situations, you can’t expect to win.”

Van Gaal demands more from Manchester United youngsters

The Red Devils beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates on Saturday with the likes of Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair starting and the Dutchman says he was pleased with their displays


Louis van Gaal says Manchester United’s youngsters can still lift their level of performance, despite receiving wide praise for helping the Red Devils to a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday.

An injury crisis reduced United to fielding academy products Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair either side of England international Chris Smalling, while Luke Shaw passed a late fitness test to start at left-back.

And even though Shaw was withdrawn with an ankle problem, Van Gaal’s side kept the Gunners at bay until Olivier Giroud’s fine strike in the dying moments.

Yet the former Netherlands boss believes the club’s youngsters should still strive to improve on that display, telling reporters:  “You can say, when you play with this squad, with players like Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett and also Luke Shaw – 19, 20, 21 [years old] – and Smalling between them, you can after the match it was good.

“But they can do better, I believe.”

The win lifted United into the top four for only the second time this season and Van Gaal felt it was deserved after weathering an early storm at the Emirates Stadium.

He added: “The first 20-25 minutes I was a little disappointed about our confidence on the ball, our composure at the ball.

“That was our biggest problem. That’s why Arsenal could develop this storm. But we have a very good goalkeeper.

“But after 25 minutes I saw that when we keep the ball that’s when we get chances. I said at half-time ‘you need a little bit more confidence, play the ball’ and because we keep the ball better in the second half we created those chances.”

United face Stoke City and Hull City at Old Trafford in their next two Premier League games.

Van Gaal: I made a quality decision and now I can laugh

The Manchester United manager feels vindicated that his switch back to a three-man defence was the right move, though noting that he would have been castigated for it after a loss


Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says that he can now “laugh” after his “quality decision” to revert to a three-at-the-back formation saw his side beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

With injuries continuing to plague his squad, the Dutchman deployed youngsters Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett alongside Chris Smalling in central defence, with Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw on the flanks.

The Red Devils had seen an upturn in results since switching to a four-man back line in early September but Van Gaal now feels vindicated, though noting that he would have been castigated for the same decision if the result had gone the other way.

“If Arsenal had scored in the first 20 minutes, you would be asking about why I picked three defenders – but now I can laugh,” he observed to reporters.

“I am confident I made the right decision. To make it before the match, that’s a quality decision. I can say that now, that’s the life of a coach. The result always gives you the reason or not.

“I have to say I cannot do other things because I don’t have many players. I think the players have done fantastic. Blackett, McNair and Shaw – how old are they?

“I hope some players come back from injuries because it’s unbelievably difficult to create consistency in the team,” he continued. “Every week I have to change my lineup. That is not always good to create ultimatism in the team.”

Arsenal dominated much of the first half and squandered chances to take the lead, leaving the United boss critical of his side’s ball retention.

He remarked: “I was not pleased with the way we played in the first half but, of course, it was an away game against a top team and we have won so, OK, I can say yes, it’s my best victory [at United].

“In the first 35 minutes we gave the ball away so easily; that’s not possible for a top team. Arsenal created a lot of chances but fortunately we have a very good goalkeeper [in David de Gea]. After the first 35 minutes, you saw us coming back in the game.

“That’s what I said at half-time. When we keep the ball, when we show confidence, then we shall score goals.

“Ball possession is always more in the mind of the players or the stomach of the players. You can’t train it in a direct way – you have to give them the freedom to do it.”

De Gea was widely praised for his performance on Saturday but, despite the Spaniard’s rave reviews all season, Van Gaal believes that there is plenty to improve about his performance.

“He has quality. I’m used to his quality [but] he can improve also, in other aspects of his game,” the manager added. “When I say that, you think I’m crazy but I’m not crazy.”

New Real Sociedad boss Moyes clashes with Fernandez

The Scot kicked off his time at the Basque club with a forgettable stalemate, but got a crash course in Spanish football as he was forced to tell his opposite number to calm down


Former Manchester United manager David Moyes kicked off his time in charge of Real Sociedad with a goalless draw at Deportivo.

Moyes was sacked by United in April after it became mathematically certain that the club could not qualify for the Champions League.

The Scot had only taken the reins at Old Trafford 11 months previously following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, but had overseen a disastrous period in which the Red Devils went from first to seventh in the Premier League.

He returned to managament on November 10, taking over from the sacked Jagoba Arrasate at Anoeta after the Basque club’s poor start to the season.


           Welcome to the jungle (again) | Moyes steps out to increased media presence (Getty)


                       Life through a lens | Moyes, not for the first time, was in the spotlight (Getty)

His opening game in charge was a largely forgettable affair, aside from a first-half incident with Depor coach Victor Fernandez.

Fernandez was incensed after an offside decision went against his team, raging at the officials and Moyes himself.

The former Everton boss gestured that his opposite number should calm down – advice that was not heeded and he was sent to the stands.

Rooney: Manchester United knew how to beat Arsenal

The Red Devils captain reveals that his side came to north London with a gameplan to hit the hosts on the counterattack – a play that earned Louis van Gaal’s men three points


Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says that his side knew that exploiting the counterattack would be the right approach to beat Arsenal after a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.

The hosts dominated the Premier League contest for long spells before falling behind to a Kieran Gibbs own goal in the 56th minute.

Rooney streamed forward to seal the points and Angel Di Maria should have added a third on the counter before Olivier Giroud netted midway through nine minutes of injury time as Arsenal battled in vain to stop United claiming a first away victory of the season.

“It’s a very important victory,” Rooney told Sky Sports. “We weathered the storm at times, especially first half. Our goalkeeper [David de Gea] was fantastic and we hit them with two good goals.

“It was a different game. They had possession and we hit them on the break – that was our gameplan.”

United’s lengthy injury list led manager Louis van Gaal to select a back three featuring rookie centre-backs Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair and Rooney feels that the youngsters performed well in a determined team display.

“We’ve put five at the back and a bit of experience in myself, Michael [Carrick] and [Marouane] Fellaini in the midfield to try and protect them,” he added.

“I felt we did that well at times and we knew we had legs in terms of Robin [van Persie], Angel and myself joining in on the break. We saw that to good effect in the second half.

“I think it’s a massive result for us. Two very young players, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, in such a big game – they’ve coped well. A clean sheet – I’m sure the defence and the goalkeeper will be delighted with that.

“This will give us a lot of confidence, a lot of belief and it’s come at the right time for us.”

Despite a stuttering start to the Van Gaal era, United have now broken into the Premier League’s top four as they bid to reclaim the coveted Champions League spot that they let slip during a shambolic 2013-14 campaign.

“We’ll take each game as it comes,” Rooney added. “It’s been an indifferent start to the season but we hope now that we can go on a run of games and enjoy the position we’re in after Christmas.

“We want to try and build a bit of momentum going into the New Year so today was a massive result in terms of starting that.”